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News | May 8, 2024

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Advancing Leaders Through Innovation with Ida Pham

By DCAA Staff Writer

In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month, we shine a spotlight on our leaders who reflect the theme, "Advancing Leaders Through Innovation." These stories exemplify more than resilience and determination, they also underscore the transformative power of embracing one's cultural heritage in leadership.

Ida Pham, a Regional Audit Manager in the Western Region currently working as the Acting Deputy Director, reflects on how her Vietnamese heritage shapes her leadership style. Raised in Vietnam and immigrating to the U.S. in her early twenties, she upholds the values emphasized in many Asian cultures: respect, work ethic, and humility. These principles guide her leadership style, emphasizing the significance of listening attentively to others, fostering collaboration, and leading by example. Additionally, the cultural emphasis on perseverance in the face of adversity has equipped her with resilience and determination, essential qualities for navigating challenges in leadership roles.

Drawing from her cultural heritage, Ida prioritizes fostering an inclusive environment where diverse perspectives are not just welcomed but celebrated. In meetings, Ida actively seeks input from team members of various backgrounds, understanding that diverse viewpoints lead to more innovative and well-rounded solutions. Despite her soft-spoken demeanor, she empowers the group and ensures progress to meet business needs. She shares, “To encourage ownership and accountability among team members, I rarely speak first but pivot according to the group. Everyone needs a chance to participate and come up with a solution that represents the entire group.” Upholding respect and care for all participants, Ida adapts to each group’s dynamics, fostering an environment where everyone feels valued and comfortable. She shares her method for success, “my team always starts with a discussion about what we did last year and what we’re going to do differently this year. This helps ease into conversations and slowly expands our boundaries and comfort zones. This helps find new and different approaches to the audit or the problem.” Despite differing viewpoints, decisions are collectively made and focus on achieving shared goals.

Her dedication to leadership growth is evident in her advocacy for agency resources. She’s an advocate for positive change in the organization and believes in the potential DCAA has to offer everyone, “I tell my team why I’m always happy to come to work, it’s because I have the best job. This agency has lots of value and a variety of work. In the last 20 years I’ve never been bored working here. I share with new and experienced auditors all the agency has to offer to encourage growth. DCAA prioritizes a culture of continuous learning and professional development, offering leadership development programs, mentorship opportunities, and access to resources that enable our team members to enhance their skills and knowledge.” Ida advocates for regular feedback and recognition, ensuring that individuals receive the support and encouragement they need to thrive.